SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX) – San Francisco supervisors blasted PG&E Tuesday for stalling on many projects while making projects more complex and expensive. They accuse the utility of making unreasonable demands.
It’s all related to the city’s plan to give customers a “green” choice for their power.
Supervisor Hillary Ronen dialed up the heat beneath a team of representatives from PG&E.
“You caused the delay of the opening of a navigation center. There are people dying on the streets of San Francisco!” she said. “Not only outrageous, but I would say criminal.”
At issue is the troubled marriage between San Francisco’s Green Power Initiative and PG&E’s role in distributing that power. The dispute has brought delays and six-figure cost overruns to projects across the city.
“There are disagreements, we acknowledge that, but we are working with the PUC,” said PG&E spokesperson Matt Nauman.
But the message on Tuesday seemed to be a growing lack of patience, as the city rolled out the casualty list of affected projects. It included everything from schools and low-income housing, to a something as simple as a bathroom stall.
“PG&E was going to require infrastructure equivalent to what we need to power SF General Hospital, for a one-stall, MTA break bathroom for bus drivers,” said Supervisor Ronen.
That bathroom is on Van Ness. It isn’t very large, and the only electrical requirements are a couple lights and a hand dryer.”
The equipment the city says PG&E was demanding here, equal to seven times the size of the bathroom itself, is about as large as the articulated buses parked in front of it.
“It is an incredibly complex issue,” says Nauman. “Things have changed as far as the city’s relationship with PG&E and certainly with federal regulations.”
Today PG&E called this a “policy disagreement,” seemingly an acknowledgement that this is, in fact, more than a debate over voltage requirements. Without a long-term agreement, supervisor Aaron Peskin warned the next switch thrown may be some kind of litigation.
“I’d much rather win than fight, but if we have to fight, we will,” he said.
The city and PG&E believe they may have a tentative agreement to sort out projects for the remainder of the year, but beyond that, it’s unclear.